India’s foreign policy at a crossroads

Harsh Pant’s new book

Barring the Communists, both sides of the debate over the India-US nuclear deal claim that their position is informed by India’s national interest. Given the profound changes in India over the last two decades—a relatively short period of time in the history of nations— it is but natural that there are deep differences on India’s role in the international arena. This has not been helped by the lack a serious intellectual effort to define, discuss and arrive at a broad non-partisan consensus on the national interest. As K Subrahmanyam mentioned in his interview with Pragati—The Indian National Interest Review in May 2008, even the recommendations of the task force that he chaired on global strategic affairs have not been made public, less accepted by the government.

If India is to make the most of the opportunities that are available at this critical moment in history, and if it is to avoid repeating the grand mistakes of the past, there is an urgent need for such a debate. That’s part of the motivation behind Pragati. Now, Harsh Pant’s new book fills a void and, hopefully, will set the stage for the launch a debate “perhaps to end all minor ones that India has been having for the last few years”. Some excerpts from “Contemporary Debates in Indian Foreign and Security Policy: India Negotiates Its Rise in the International System” (available here) are on YaleGlobal Online. (linkthanks Yossarin)

Look out for Dr Pant’s essay in the July 2008 issue of Pragati that will be out tomorrow (July 1st, 2008)